Monday, October 6, 2014

Fiji on the map, guiding coordination of UN convention

Pacific delegates at the CBD COP 12 in Korea
Ms. Eleni Tokaduadua front row second from left

6 October 2014, Pyeongchang Korea, CBD COP12 - Fiji represents the Pacific islands that are parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity on the Conference of the Parties Bureau.  This group acts as a board to provide guidance to the CBD Secretariat in coordinating any intercessional meetings and conferences over a two year period.

Fiji is one of two representatives for the Asia Pacific region on the CBD COP Bureau, along with Thailand, having been nominated by Pacific island parties at the 11th Conference of the Parties to the CBD in Hyderabad India in 2012.

Ms. Eleni Tokaduadua, Principal Environment Officer of the Department of Fiji is now coming to the end of her term as a representative on the CBD COP Bureau:

"One of the key objectives of the bureau which I thought was very relevant was to see how the Convention on Biological Diversity is mainstreamed into other sectoral programmes at the national level, and other UN conventions.  Partnerships has also been a driving force in Bureau discussions over the last two years as well as we progress the work and actions under this Convention."

As a representative of the Pacific islands, Eleni Tokaduadua has also worked to ensure that decisions made regarding funding, participation and resources available from the Convention on Biological Diversity is shared equally, that the Small Islands Developing States and the Least Developed Countries receive their fair share.

As Fiji's term on the COP bureau comes to an end, the Pacific will not be represented on the bureau until the 14th Conference of the Parties in 2018.  There are four sub regions within the Asia Pacific Region each taking turns two sub regions at a term.

Pacific delegates support drafting of statements at the Asia Pacific Meeting

"I'm privileged to be a member of the COP Bureau serving the Pacific region and I thank them for their confidence in me however it's important to flag a crucial point for future bureau members," said Tokaduadua.

"We as a sub region can improve.  While our Pacific representative drives our perspectives in this process, it is also important for countries to note that we as Pacific island parties also have a responsibility to meet our obligations, whether they be submitting reports in on time or abiding by travel arranged.  When we as a region don't have a positive profile due to our failure in meeting our obligations, that also reflects badly on the COP Bureau representative.  This is important to keep in mind."

Ms. Eleni  Tokaduadua is the head of the delegation of Fiji at the CBD COP 12 from 6 - 12 October in Pyeongchang, Korea.  At the Opening Plenary, Ms. Tokaduadua was elected as Rapporteur of the COP12 meeting which is quite a significant position to hold.  14 Pacific island countries are party to the Convention on Biological Diversity with Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu currently in Korea attending the CBD COP12.  Soon to arrive are the Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.

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